Nourishing a Neighborhood
(l-r) Sherman Park Grocery owner Moe Wince, Bishop Walter Harvey, Heather Nelson (Spring Bank), Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, John Miller (MEDC), Sue Eick (MEDC) and owner Yashica Spears-Wince.
When MEDC loan client Sherman Park Grocery opened its doors in July, 2022, owner Maurice “Moe” Wince knew he and his wife Yashica were answering a much-needed call from the community. Located on Sherman Blvd. and Fond du Lac Ave., the full-service grocery store has brought fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, a deli, locally sourced prepared foods, and so much more to a neighborhood that the City of Milwaukee had considered a food desert.
“Our impact and reach have been tremendous, and literally life-changing for the neighborhood,” Moe said. “Until we opened, people had two convenience gas stations as the only close options to buy food. The nearest true grocery store was two miles away.”
In its first month of operation, Sherman Park Grocery counted 3,870 area households as customers, nearly 10% of the total households in the area. That number continues to grow, especially with the recent opening of a kitchen offering hot meals. Along with the Winces, the store has 15 employees.
Just over 2,100 square feet, Sherman Park Grocery offers nutrition in every aisle. The Winces source foods from neighboring Upstart Kitchen, along with fresh produce grown by youth at Fork Farms. Feed My Sheep gift cards are also available each month to customers experiencing a food deficit.
“We’re not a typical grocery store, we’re building community,” Moe explained. “We’ve created an economic ecosystem that brings locally sourced food products from many Upstart Kitchens culinary artists as well as Fork Farms kids who are growing herbs and vegetables in hydroponic pods just above the store.” He added, “I like to tell people that we’re putting the neighboring back into the hood.”
"Our impact and reach have been tremendous, and literally life-changing for the neighborhood."
Sherman Park Grocery has changed the landscape for the quality and quantity of foods available to area residents. “Unhealthy food choices contribute to a variety of health issues including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” Moe shared. “And to many of our neighbors who live on fixed incomes, expensive packaged foods at gas stations doesn’t go far.”
Moe shared the story of a neighbor, aged 71, who walks with a cane and has lived in the area for the past 18 years. “Until we came along, this young lady had no choice but to shop at those gas stations and could afford just a bag of groceries. Now, she leaves with three full bags filled with fresh vegetables and fruits, meats, and more,” he noted.
According to Moe, MEDC was a godsend in making their dream possible, along with bank partner Spring Bank. “MEDC shared my vision,” he said. “John Miller met with me about a year ago and immediately saw what we wanted to do and why it was so important. “He brought Sue (Eick) to the project, and along with Heather (Nelson) from Spring Bank, we collaborated to make this happen.”
In addition to MEDC and Spring Bank, the Winces received funding from the City of Milwaukee’s Fresh Food Access Fund.
Sherman Park Grocery Store is located at 4315 West Fond du Lac Avenue and is open 7 days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm. Learn more in this video.